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ANAHITA  October 1998

ANAHITA October 1998

Subject:

Abstract at last

From:

Gail Higginbottom <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Women and Gender in the Ancient World <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 27 Oct 1998 21:40:17 +1030

Content-Type:

MULTIPART/MIXED

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

TEXT/PLAIN (25 lines) , Prostitutes.txt (1 lines)


To everyone,

I have gained the extra information I required re the abstract on
prostitutes and their roles in religion.  I apologise for the delay, but
it was unavoidable due to the academic commitments of Matthew Dillon.

Many thanks to all of you for your patience.

sincerely,

Gail Higginbottom.

Gail Higginbottom,
Discipline of Classics, Centre for European Studies,
University of Adelaide,
Adelaide, South Australia,
Australia. 5005.
and
Department of Physics and Mathematical Physics

[log in to unmask]
(08) 8303:5996 (messages)



Pious and impious prostitutes of ancient Greece Matthew Dillon, School of Classics and History, University of New England, Armidale, Australia [log in to unmask] Women in general appear to have been marginalised in many ancient Greek societies, but even amongst women there are obvious marginalised groups: the poor but free women, slaves, and foreign women, and prostitutes, poor and wealthy, free and slave. What role, if any, did prostitutes have in Greek religion? While Aristophanes in the Lysistrata has the choros of citizen women sing of their various religious duties when they were girls and then adolescents, and Euripides' in the Melanippe Desmotis has the women choros proclaim that their role in religion is greater than that of men's, this gives no indication of the importance of non-citizen women in Greek religion. This paper is an attempt to ascertain what sort of religious life did prostitutes lead, and were they important or were their religious activities completely marginal to the existence of the city-state? Prostitutes clearly participated in the religious life of the polis to some extent. Prostitutes became initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries, and several of them made expensive dedications at Greek sanctuaries. The prostitutes from Athens who accompanied Perikles during the siege of Samos dedicated the statue called 'Aphrodite in Samos', when they had earned enough money from their labours. Several 'pious' prostitutes are known, and impious prostitues seem to have been no more common than other impious women, such as priestesses. Phryne was the most celebrated case of an impious prostitute, being accused at Athens in the fourth century of introducing a new god and assembling illegal thiasoi of men and women. She was acquitted, being defended by Hypereides, who brought her out where all the jurors could see her, tore off her garments so that her breasts were exposed, and broke out into lamentations at the sight (i.e. of the breasts that were to be deprived of life). The jurors became superstitious of Phryne, the 'expounder and attendant' of Aphrodite, and acquitted her. That Aphrodite's wrath might fall on them for executing such of her handiwork as Phryne is clear. The most famous prostitutes were the sacred prostitutes of Corinth, called upon by the city to pray to Aphrodite in tmes of crisis, such as during the Persian invasion of 480-79. Aspasia was accused of impiety, and it is often suggested that the charge was that she had entered Athenian temples, and that this was forbidden to prostitutes. But the evidence for such a prohibition is ambivalent to say the least ([Dem.] Against Neaira 85-6, 113-14; Isaeus 6.49-50). It is clear that the most important religious roles were reserved for the citizen women of the state. Prostitutes, like all other women, had religious concerns, but Aphrodite was their goddess par excellence. They were denied some religious roles in ancient Greece, not because they were prostitutes but because they were non-citizens. Along with slaves and metics they could participate in sacrifices and prayers, but they could not participate in the rites restricted to the sovereign citizens.

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